Jeremy Varner said he's scored bigger goals in his soccer career, but none more important than the one that propelled El Segundo High to a 1-0 victory over Arroyo Grande on Wednesday at El Segundo.
Varner's goal with three minutes remaining in the game allowed the Eagles to advance to the quarterfinals of the CIF 3-A playoffs. They will meet fourth-seeded Mission Viejo on Friday.
"Yes, I've scored bigger goals, but this one keeps us alive," said Varner. "I was just in the right place at the right time."
Varner's goal came off a throw-in initiated by Donavan Gallatin that deflected off Ed Bahny to Varner, who headed it into the right corner of the net.
"This guy really knows what it's like to play soccer," El Segundo Coach Bill Nusbaum said of Varner. "He really knows what the game is all about."
The teams struggled through a scoreless first half, with neither squad taking advantage of numerous scoring opportunities. El Segundo had 11 shots on goal in the first half, while the Eagles turned away 12 shots in the first half.
The second half was more of the same, with the teams volleying the ball into each other's territory.
With the victory, Pioneer League champion El Segundo improved to 15-2. Arroyo Grande finished at 15-6.
El Segundo, which lost its league opener to Redondo, reeled off nine straight league victories. With its two wins in the playoffs, the Eagles now own an 11-game winning streak.
And the Eagles have done it with consistent play. El Segundo scored 48 league goals, while holding its opponents to just seven.
Nusbaum was surprised by his team's lack of offense on Wednesday.
"I don't know what was going on out there," he said. "We just couldn't get anything going. I'm just happy to get out of here with the win."
El Segundo goalie Chris Wescon finished with eight saves. Teammates Paul Olson and Shawn Brown played well defensively and gave fits to the Arroyo Grande offense.
Benito Salto, the Eagles' scoring leader, was held in check by the pesky Arroyo Grande defense.